Let’s face it. In the broad world of photographic pursuits, street photography isn’t renowned as a money-making endeavor. In small part, this is due to the general perception of “what is art” and, more importantly, what is “hang on your wall” art. While the fact that street photography is an art is rarely contested any more, it doesn’t really garner equal appreciation as “displayable art” compared to, say… a narrow DOF of a bug on a flower (“in HDR!” as my friend TC would say with a sarcastic twist) or a simple still-life of stacked stones on a beach in black & white.
Yes, I just returned from a shopping trip to Ikea.
Additionally, there are the obvious legal issues. While in most countries it is legally permissible for street photos to be used editorially or sold as fine art, it is usually illegal to use such images in a commercial capacity. Street photographers can’t chase down every subject they shoot for a model release. As such, stock sales and sales to marketing firms are severely limited, if non-existent.
So what do you do if you love street photography and want to earn some money to cover your expenses or maybe even bring in that f1.2 you’re lusting after? One answer is to try and apply the principals of street photography to a more commercial form. It is such possibilities that I will ponder in a short series of articles under the banner of Commercial Outlets for Street Photographers.
The first article in this series will be coming soon. If any street shooters out there have some experience in doing this, and are willing to share for a future article, let me know in the comments below or contact me.